Advertising in space has a dystopian, cyberpunk feel but the concept isn’t as alien as it might sound. New Scientist claims that in-orbit advertisements could already exist if we wanted them to. It’s just too dangerous at the moment.

The final leap for marketing, space adverts would represent almost a conclusion for the industry, from t-shirts and buildings to the outer reaches of human existence. Put another way, marketers would be able to reach potential customers wherever they might be.

Some might say we’re almost in this latter place already, especially when it comes to digital media – and despite these surly bonds that bind us to the earth.

Paid Experiences

TV has long been a safe place for businesses to place their messaging ever since watch brand Bulova started the craze in July 1941, with a minute ad during a game between the Dodgers and the Phillies.

Websites like YouTube have helped advertising continue into the new decade, even though we’re now on a completely different technological stage, i.e. computers (or mobiles) and the internet. We all see plenty of promotional messages each day. 

This is fine as long as the content is free. However, there’s a question about the presence of adverts in premium services – even when they are reducing the overall cost to the consumer.

An Ad-Supported Model

TV, which now means Disney+, Amazon Video, and Netflix, had 75.5m customers in the US during Q1 2023, although things have been in decline for a while.

Of course, there’s far more to streaming than American Horror Story. As mentioned, video sites such as YouTube offer a distinctly modern take on entertainment but, increasingly, live content is creeping into casino gaming too. 

Operator Playstar offers live gaming on its NJ casino app. This format emulates a game show, but one where the audience can get involved. Via a console and a live operator, players can take part in roulette, blackjack, and craps, among other games.

Gaming does present an opportunity for both advertisers and players. In 2022, Microsoft asked whether gamers would be interested in an ad-supported model for the streaming version of its Xbox Game Pass. The response seems to have been positive.

Knee-Jerk Reaction

A year on, the computing giant seems to be ready to unveil a $3-a-month Game Pass that works in any browser. It would target emerging markets, where consoles and PCs aren’t the dominant gaming system, including ads.

The knee-jerk reaction might be to worry about the increasing commercialization of the industry but it nevertheless means that less financially or technologically able people finally get access to better standards of gaming. 

The awkward placement of ads in full-priced titles like the NBA2K series isn’t necessarily representative of marketing in video games. With some tweaking, campaigns could help reduce the initial outlay required for gaming in much the same way it does in mobile apps.

There are limits to what players will accept even for a cheaper Xbox Game Pass (YouTube users haven’t tolerated any at all recently, despite it being a free service) so it’s perhaps a good idea that Microsoft seems to be taking its time over its new subscription service.